Education Association has backed abortion rights, but for pro-life teachers, the fact that their National Union co-sponsored the march for abortion is another example of the organization destroying the lives of future students teachers otherwise would have taught.
NEA member Connie Bancroft, a middle-school teacher for handicapped children in Mahoning County, Ohio, who opposes NEA's sponsorship of the march and who is Executive Director of Teachers Saving Children, a Pro-life teachers group told the Washington Times that abortion "is a political issue and not an education issue." "We're supposed to be for the children and they say it's OK to eliminate our very clientele." "That's hard to understand," Bancroft told the Times.
Meanwhile, the NEA takes positions on issues contrary to some members' religious beliefs, which are protected by the 1964 federal Civil Rights Act. "Every organization -- association, political party and church -- has significant numbers of members who do not agree with every policy item," NEA spokesman Michael Pons said. "That is the greatness of an open, democratic organization such as ours."
At the rally, Democratic Senator Hilary Rodham Clinton of New York urged marchers to vote in big numbers on November 2nd to evict the Bush administration that is "filled with people who disparage sexual harassment laws, who claim the pay gap between men and women is phony ... who consider Roe v. Wade the worst abomination of constitutional law in our history."
Organizers of the march set up voter registration tables, and supporters of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry handed out stickers.
Bancroft and other pro-life teachers oppose the fact that many are required to be part of the 2.7 million member union, thanks to collective bargaining agreements in their school districts. As a result, they have no recourse when their dues go to pay for pro-abortion activities.
According to The Washington Times, Randall Moodey, the top NEA lobbyist, is an original board member and the treasurer for Planned Parenthood's political action committee that funds pro-abortion candidates.
NEA affiliates encouraged members to attend the march and some chartered buses for members. New Jersey NEA affiliate Director of Communications Lynn Maher said that encouraging teachers to attend was in line with the association's stance on the abortion issue. When asked if a similar encouragement was made for the anti-abortion March For Life in January, Maher said that if the event was contrary to the association's policy, then they would not have endorsed it.
"When I read this I was quite upset," said Kreiss-Papalski, an NJEA member and guidance secretary at a New Jersey high school. "I do not feel that my union dues should support this, nor do I think that a union who's soul purpose is to represent those in the field of education should be supporting something that has nothing to do with education."